Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Two upgraded E-2K airborne early warning aircraft which were sent to United States for upgrading were transported to Kaohsiung International Airport Station in southern Taiwan Saturday for follow-up tests and inspections.
In October 2008, the U.S. agreed to the first arms sales deal to Taiwan since President Ma Ying-jeou took office, which included the US$250 million upgrade of four E-2T aircraft to the Hawkeye 2000 standard.
To avoid its combat power being affected by the upgrade process, the Republic of China's military sent the four E-2T aircraft in two batches to the U.S. to be upgraded. The first batch of two E-2T sent in June 2010 returned to serve in Taiwan at the end of 2011, while the other two E-2T were sent to the U.S. in 2011. The upgrade of the four E-2T has all been completed.
In June 2010, two E-2Ts were sent to the US to undergo upgrades and were eventually redesigned as E-2Ks.
The Northrop Grumman-built E-2K is an all-weather early warning and control system platform equipped with eight-blade propellers, upgraded radar and surveillance systems, software and avionics.
The E-2K aircraft's performance is equivalent to that of the E-2C, which is in service with the U.S. Air Force.
Airborne early warning and control aircraft are airborne radar systems designed to provide functions such as early warning of the approach of low-flying enemy air attacks, guiding fighters to execute interception and control missions, carrying out regional air surveillance and electronic reconnaissance, and assisting search and rescue guidance as well as communications relay.
In recent years, airborne early warning aircraft have been widely used for search-and-rescue missions.
The Minister of National Defense said that Taiwan's overall defense network will be significantly improved following the joining of E-2ks and the integration of the nation's command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.
(By Chen Pei-huang and Y.L. Kao)